It is very painful to read this article on The Guardian by Tom Gardner for a number of reasons.
1. Tom is presenting land robbery and land grab by the Addis Ababa City Administration in Koye, Oromia, 25 kilometers away from Addis Ababa, inside Oromia, as urban development. Just imagine, Addis Ababa taking 700 hectares of land from Oromo farmers in Koye displacing tens of thousands to enrich the land grabbers in Addis and drinking buddies of Tom? Tom did not say a word about land grab or the tens of thousands of Oromo farmers displaced and dispossessed of their ancestral lands.
2. Tom is writing to validate this robbery and illegal construction in the eyes of the Western readers as a policy success. To do that he went as far as Germany, New York, Sweden and the United Kingdom to speak to individuals the Ethiopian people know nothing about them, and individuals who know nothing about the Ethiopian people but the regime. Or probably handpicked by the lobbyists of the regime.
Just look at the following quotes taken from his about ten paragraphs article and see who is quoted.
“Addis Ababa has run out space,” says Felix Heisel, an urban expert at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.”
“It represents a commitment to social housing that is rarely seen in Africa,” says Patrick Lamson-Hall of New York University.”
“It shows other African nations that Africa can solve its own problems,” agrees Alazar Ejigu, an Ethiopian architect and urban planner based in Sweden.”
“More than half, according to Simon Franklin of the London School of Economics, choose to rent the property out and move to places where it is easier to travel to work and find employment, or where social ties are stronger.”
4. Tom’s Facebook posts contain some pictures that show the after effect of the dispossession but, the published article does not include these pictures. The published article is written as a promotion to the project success for the land robbery being sold as urban development.
5. Tom is technically outsourcing all policy critic Ethiopian should have made on this disastrous and failed land grab policy of the TPLF to foreigners who have little or no policy interests or who don’t feel the impact and effect of this stupid policy or live under it. In other words, Tom is helping the TPLF to get away with this disastrous policy in the eyes of their Western benefactors and financers.
See the contrast for yourself. Read the article from this link